Having followed the competition eagerly this season, it is with great pleasure that I offer my congratulations, on behalf of everyone here at AVillaFan, to Villa’s under-19s, who this evening beat Chelsea on the banks of Lake Como to become the first English side to win the NextGen series.
Coached by ex-Chelsea player Tony McAndrew and captained by Samir Carruthers, the young guns began well and had a shot clear the bar within the first minute. Their opponents looked lively and Brad Watkins had to throw himself on a shot from Chelsea’s Kiwomya. Chelsea enjoyed lots of possession and Watkins was again called into action, saving a well-struck shot from Feruz.
Burke missed a good chance and the dangerous Kiwomya struck wide but, overall, Villa did well to ride the Chelsea pressure and keep the score at 0-0 as the referee blew his whistle for half time.
The stalemate was broken in the 49th minute when Graham Burke’s well-taken penalty gave the underdogs the lead after Callum Robinson was fouled on the by-line.
Kiwomya’s evening took a turn for the worse in the dying minutes of the game when he received his second yellow and left the pitch. After Josh Barton was fouled, it was to be another penalty, right at the death, that sealed the Villa victory.
The battling young lions will have given the watching Paul Lambert plenty of food for thought and some of them could soon make the step up to the first team. For now, though, we’ll let them enjoy their well-earned victory.